Today we’d like to introduce you to Clinton Cimring.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started volunteering with Salty Dog Paddle back when it was a for-profit in 2013. At the time, it was a surf shop with locations throughout the country and supported a lot of the animal rescues and shelters I volunteered for. I had just moved back to Florida from California to the enroll in the US Peace Corps. On my downtime, I organized some of the fundraising events for Salty Dog including a huge Hang Twenty surf contest at Cocoa Beach. I was ecstatic to learn that the dog rescue organizations we partnered with saw more adoptions at those events than they had the entire year. The events were a chance for people to see just how amazing the rescue dogs were.
The following year, in 2014, the owners of Salty Dog ended up shutting down all the locations and to relocated to the Florida Keys due to a death in the family – their own rescue dog. Rather than letting the goodwill associated with the events go to waste, I agreed to take over the business and turn it into a volunteer-based nonprofit. By happenstance I ran into a US Navy corpsman I served with in the Marines, Hilary Dowson. Originally, I begun standup paddleboarding (SUP) in Coronado, California prior to departing for Iraq in 2003. It was actually the Navy Seals who brought paddle boarding over to the mainland from Hawaii at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado and used the boards as part of their training and recreation.
Hilary and I decided to incorporate the US Navy and Marine Corps into the idea of the nonprofit and partnered with veterans organizations to help us organize the dog paddle boarding events. I found paddle boarding to be therapeutic in the relieving stress I had left over from the Marine Corps. I also believe it was a win-win for the disabled veterans we worked with. We paired them with rescue dogs on the paddles and a majority of them ended up being adopted by the veterans as service dogs and emotional support dogs.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was definitely not a smooth road. To this day, I still get asked what dog rescues or marine life organizations our events help. I think people still have the notion of Salty Dog as a for-profit business. As of 2018, we have partnered with about 30 animal organizations throughout Florida and other States. Each fundraiser we host features the “Salty Dog” we are helping. People also ask me why they should donate to us rather than donating to an animal rescue directly. I try to explain the difference in terms like this: imagine an animal rescue taking a dog into a private veterinarian that has already helped them a hundred times before. The vet already discounts their services for that animal. Now, imagine us going to that same vet and offering to make them a sponsor of one of our events, which would equate to about $10,000 of advertising exposure. Now, how much would that vet bill be? Would that vet be willing to comp the entire bill in exchange? Thanks to our social media exposure we’ve been able to secure a network of vets who provided their services to the animals we save for free as a result of the media exposure we’ve given them.
Please tell us about Salty Dog Paddle.
We are now the largest stand-up Paddleboarding charity in the United States. We are both a surf brand and organize paddle boarding events and excursions in order to raise money to save domestic animals and marine life.
I am most proud of the number of animals we have been able to save whether through providing funding for emergency veterinary procedures, dog adoptions, nursing marine life back to health or cleaning our beaches of trash and debris that can hurt marine life.
What sets as apart from any other nonprofit is being volunteer-based. In this, we have no paid staff or employees of any kind. When we started this charity, we decided to waive our salaries and continue to do that today.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood was playing cowboys and Indians with my labrador Lucky. Lucky was my faithful steed, I was the cowboy and my sister – unbeknownst to her – was the Indian Chief.
- Snapback Hats – $9.99
- Shirts – $9.99
- Stand-up Paddleboard rentals – $30
- Website: http://SaltyDogPaddle.org
- Phone: 561-777-5999
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saltydogpaddle/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saltydogpaddle/
Salty Dog Paddle volunteers